CBS: Maybe the House Ethics Committee should change its name

posted at 3:35 pm on March 2, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Yeah, but to what?  The House CYA Committee?  The House Unicorns and Skittles Panel?  Perhaps they should call it the See No Evil Commission, as CBS’ Brian Montopoli wonders exactly how the Ethics panel missed what the separate Office of Congressional Ethics made painfully clear:

Last week, the bipartisan committee, known formally as the House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct, cleared seven lawmakers who had been accused of trading millions in federal dollars for campaign contributions.

The exoneration came despite a report from a separate group, the Office of Congressional Ethics, that found defense contractors that received the federal money (which came in the form of earmarks) believed their contributions were directly tied to federal money coming their way. …

Yet the House ethics committee cleared Visclosky, Republican Todd Tiahrt of Kansas and the other lawmakers of any wrongdoing. (The Office of Congressional Ethics had recommended the ethics committee investigate Visclosky and Tiahrt specifically.) Zoe Lofgren, the chair of the ethics committee, insisted “there was a complete separation between the fundraising activities and the legislative activities on the part of these members.” The committee’s statement is here, and its report is here.

This despite the fact that Visclosky’s chief of staff and appropriations director attended the fundraiser, and despite of emails like this one, reported by the New York Times, between executives at Sierra Nevada Corporation explaining why the company was donating an additional $20,000 to Visclosky: “That’s what each of the companies working with [the] PMA [Group] and Visclosky have been asked to contribute. He has been a good supporter of SNC. We have gotten over 10M in adds from him.” (PMA is a now-disbanded lobbying organization specializing in defense earmarks tied to the late Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, an aggressive earmarker who was among the lawmakers cleared by the ethics committee. The firm was raided by federal prosecutors as part of an investigation into its practices.)

One reason that the House ethics committee cleared the lawmakers, according to Washington ethics lawyer Robert Kellner, is that what they did doesn’t stray far from standard Washington practice.

To quote from Cheech and Chong, it’s not a gang, it’s a club.  And the other members of the club don’t want to shed all that much light onto practices that they and their allies use to hold onto their seats.  So, if Pete Visclosky invited a bunch of defense contractors to a fundraiser and got urged to communicate their earmark requests at the same time (and brought his operations people along to facilitate that process), no big deal.  In fact, for some, it might serve as a seminar for later use.

Besides, even if the Ethics Committee had concluded that these seven lawmakers were also lawbreakers, what would have happened?  Nancy Pelosi would have applied the Rangel standard, which holds that one has to have committed treason to have to suffer consequences for ethics violations, or have been a Republican, which would be worse.  At worst, it would have resulted in a public scolding, but nothing radical like losing one’s committee assignment.  After all, Democrats have an agenda to cram down America’s throat!  Corrupt members in the caucus is merely a distraction.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

The House Unicorns and Skittles Panel?

I vote for this.

Enoxo on March 2, 2010 at 3:38 PM

Useless yet again. How low can they go?

Mason on March 2, 2010 at 3:39 PM

Politburo Affairs Committee?

darwin on March 2, 2010 at 3:41 PM

House Ethnic Committee.

fogw on March 2, 2010 at 3:42 PM

My Corruption Run’th Over / There’s a Tear in my Beer.. Thanks Hank ..

wheels on March 2, 2010 at 3:43 PM

cleared Visclosky, Republican Todd Tiahrt of Kansas

Notice they didn’t say Democrat Visclosky, Tiahrt….

right2bright on March 2, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Congressional Clown Factory.

CantCureStupid on March 2, 2010 at 3:45 PM

The Dems obviously have a very big tent.

Cicero43 on March 2, 2010 at 3:45 PM

Washington ethics lawyer Robert Kellner, is that what they did doesn’t stray far from standard Washington practice.

So the standard is “how far they stray”, and the “stray” is built upon how far they stray?
So the farther and more often the “stray” the more right they are?

right2bright on March 2, 2010 at 3:45 PM

What? You don’t know what “ethics” means in Democrat speak yet?
Try Urban Dictionary, definition 2.

Cybergeezer on March 2, 2010 at 3:46 PM

After all, Democrats have an agenda to cram shove down up America’s throat arse!

There. I think this is a more accurate description of what’s being attempted.

Midas on March 2, 2010 at 3:47 PM

cleared Visclosky, Republican Todd Tiahrt of Kansas
Notice they didn’t say Democrat Visclosky, Tiahrt….

right2bright on March 2, 2010 at 3:43 PM

Hehe, yep.

Midas on March 2, 2010 at 3:47 PM

I hereby submit:

Funding Utilization of Congressional Kaffeeklatches committee

Scott H on March 2, 2010 at 3:50 PM

They only peddled influence; it’s not like they did something terrible like call the President a “lair” when he was…ah…lying…

The following was sent to me; pass it on:

New cuss word……

Years ago when I sometimes used unsavory language, I often used the expression “Bull S***.” As I grew up a bit and discovered it was not necessary to use such crude language, that expression became “BS.”

What did I really mean when I used those expressions? I meant that something was ridiculous, or idiotic or a half truth or just stupid. It covered any number of negative formats. The dictionary defines it as: nonsense; especially: foolish insolent talk…

I have decided that I no longer will use either of those expressions in the future. When I have a need to express such feelings, I will use the word “Pelosi.” Let me use it in a sentence. “That’s just a bunch of Pelosi..” I encourage you to do the same. It is such a nasty sounding word, it really packs a punch, we are no longer being vulgar, and it clearly expresses our feelings. If enough of us use it, perhaps the word could be entered into the dictionary. When on a ranch watch your step and don’t step in Pelosi. It will get on the bottom of your boot and won’t go away until next election.

What a fitting and descriptive legacy for the Speaker of the House!

Pass it on to at least 10,000,000 people. Do not break this chain or you will get more Pelosi than you can shake a bull at.

P.S. Betcha when this new word reaches D.C., the PELOSI WILL HIT THE FAN!

oddball on March 2, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Make it the Officer Barbrady Committee “Ok people, move along. There’s nothing to see here.”

rbj on March 2, 2010 at 3:50 PM

Congressional Ethics = oxymoron.

jukin on March 2, 2010 at 3:50 PM

With Pelosi and her gaggle of rancid crooks what else could one expect.

rplat on March 2, 2010 at 3:52 PM

No wonder once elected you can’t get rid of these bums. They just soak the rest of us with no illusion of oversight. Term limits!!!!!!!

search4truth on March 2, 2010 at 3:53 PM

OT: Isn’t someone really big on himself!

ConservativePartyNow on March 2, 2010 at 3:54 PM

The F U & YUR ETHICS COMMITTEE.

Cybergeezer on March 2, 2010 at 3:54 PM

What is the approval ratting of the Congress? I know it was low before the last Presidential election, it went up and then it plummeted again.

Most people voting for Obama, back in November 2008, didn’t even know who the speaker of the house was, and that both houses were controlled by the same party a super majority…what were all those Independent’s thinking when they voted Obama in?

They thought no more TARP and Spending? Nothing Obama said, during his campaign made me think he was going to be a centrist.

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 3:55 PM

Culture of Corruption Club for Progressives (CCCP)

Fitting, no?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on March 2, 2010 at 3:57 PM

The most bothersome thing about all this is that the abusers themselves don’t seem to have an incling that their behavior is wrong. How can progress ever be made with people who simply do not understand wrong and right. Now, Nancy does get it, and that makes her the worst one of all. What kind of folks live in her District that they condone this year after year. She must hale from an area with a non-existent moral compass.

jeanie on March 2, 2010 at 3:58 PM

Notice they didn’t say Democrat Visclosky, Tiahrt….

right2bright on March 2, 2010 at 3:43 PM

In the CBS article linked, Visclosky is the lead, pictured and clearly identified as a Democrat right in the first paragraph. There have been some egregious “name that party” CYAs by the MSM but this isn’t one of them.

jwolf on March 2, 2010 at 3:58 PM

I would add only one more word for a more precise description.

‘Democrat Culture of Corruption Club’

lwssdd on March 2, 2010 at 3:59 PM

Culture of Corruption Club

Do you really want to want me to be honest,
Do you really want me to even try ??

Jerome Horwitz on March 2, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Pelosi oughta do it right. Rename the panel and put Rangel in as the new chairman. Why be bashful?

TXUS on March 2, 2010 at 4:01 PM

They should merger with the U.N. “Human Rights Commission” THe two organizations are very close to having the same ideas.

sabbahillel on March 2, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Do you really want to want me to be honest

fixed

Jerome Horwitz on March 2, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Crooks n Blather

MSDS(= my $h!t don’t stink)

Crooks R Us

macncheez on March 2, 2010 at 4:04 PM

“Snow jobs and blow jobs”

the_nile on March 2, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Dr Evil on March 2, 2010 at 3:55 PM

18% from the latest Gallup data.

Cybergeezer on March 2, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Nancy Pelosi: “Pravda sure isn’t what it used to be.”

portlandon on March 2, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on March 2, 2010 at 3:57 PM

Perfect!

Cybergeezer on March 2, 2010 at 4:05 PM

“Ethics? We don’t need no stinkin’ ethics” Committee.

Cybergeezer on March 2, 2010 at 4:08 PM

When Nancy met Charlie

macncheez on March 2, 2010 at 4:10 PM

Tom Sawyers WhiteWashing Committee, DC branch.

Tom

marinetbryant on March 2, 2010 at 4:10 PM

House Committee on Fairy Tales

sdd on March 2, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Ah, I think it’s the Three Chimps with Various Disabilities
Ethical Undersight Panel. And they are an inspiration. Bless their little diapered backsides.

ontherocks on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

LIARS CLUB NATIONAL HEADQUARTERS.

Cybergeezer on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Politician’s business card:

Willing to sell my soul;
Bidding starts at $______.00

Tom

marinetbryant on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Democrat council of Unicorn Products

daesleeper on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

CBS: Maybe the House Ethics Committee should change its name

CBS doing real reporting? Their financials must be much worse than we know if they are abandoning the Democrat talking points for the truth.

RJL on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

The Lambada Committee…

…”lets see how low you can go”…

PatriotRider on March 2, 2010 at 4:17 PM

Ya know, I almost thought CBS was turning over a new leaf, realizing that reporting the news honestly, and without bias was the name of their game now. Nope! They mentioned the Republican by full name, and party. Not one mention of who all were democrats, and some were not named at all. Jerks!

That being said….I suspect Pelosi’s hands are dirty in most of these dealings, and thus, her stance on them. She’s as dirty as they are, and by protecting them, she protects herself.

capejasmine on March 2, 2010 at 4:19 PM

CBS: Maybe the House Ethics Committee should change its name

CBS doing real reporting? Their financials must be much worse than we know if they are abandoning the Democrat talking points for the truth.

RJL on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Not to mention that some in the MSM might not be willing to fall on their swords for the failing Obama. Could the rats be fleeing a sinking ship?

JiangxiDad on March 2, 2010 at 4:19 PM

I know, let’s call it “CONGRESS”!

PappaMac on March 2, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Can we still cuss?

Akzed on March 2, 2010 at 4:22 PM

\” Corrupt members in the caucus is merely a distraction.\”I always thought that was the entire goal of these weasels.

bbz123 on March 2, 2010 at 4:24 PM

After all, Democrats have an agenda to cram shove down up America’s throat arse!

There. I think this is a more accurate description of what’s being attempted. Midas on March 2, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Whoa!!! What are you, a gay conservative?!

Akzed on March 2, 2010 at 4:25 PM

How bout HUAC? Oh, that’s right, that was a dead end.

ontherocks on March 2, 2010 at 4:27 PM

“The Nine”

mojo on March 2, 2010 at 4:31 PM

H.I.G.H.
Hypocrisy IN Government House
Cause Nancy is smoking something that no one else knows about

ELMO Q on March 2, 2010 at 4:32 PM

Culture of Corruption Club for Progressives (CCCP)

Fitting, no?

Dr.Cwac.Cwac on March 2, 2010 at 3:57 PM

+1

Midas on March 2, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Fox guards hen house.

Fox eats all the hens.

Fox is investigated by other foxes.

Other foxes find no harm, no fowl.

Fox retains his position as guard.

Standard operating procedure for Congress.

rukiddingme on March 2, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Other foxes find no harm, no fowl.

OW! That HURT! :)

karl9000 on March 2, 2010 at 4:48 PM

I noted today the black caucus cane out supporting Rangel … What’s it with the blacks and the rule of law they seem to forget every time one of them gets in trouble. weird.

tarpon on March 2, 2010 at 4:51 PM

CBS doing real reporting? Their financials must be much worse than we know if they are abandoning the Democrat talking points for the truth.

RJL on March 2, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Must be running low on koolaid. That, or their sippy cups are cracked. Either way, it is a good day when reporters at CBS actually write Democrat and Corruption in the same sentence/article. More TEA, please!!!

TN Mom on March 2, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Romper Room

SouthernGent on March 2, 2010 at 4:51 PM

I noted today the black caucus cane out supporting Rangel … What’s it with the blacks and the rule of law they seem to forget every time one of them gets in trouble. weird.

tarpon on March 2, 2010 at 4:51 PM

Just obsserving that, much less saying it out loud, makes you a racist, of course.

/sarc off

Midas on March 2, 2010 at 5:05 PM

Boy George – “I cover for ya, I cover for ya”

hoakie on March 2, 2010 at 5:21 PM

Actually, the club members are from all parties. Both houses of the US Congress is the largest criminal organization in the world.

woodNfish on March 2, 2010 at 8:24 PM